Study Hall

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Alternate Universe: What If You Didn’t Work In Production?

Considering a few activities that would be handled differently if we weren't obsessed with making the show happen.

Recently I was talking with a colleague backstage while waiting for doors to open at a show, and we got on the subject of our favorite TV shows of all time. One program we agreed on was “The David Letterman Show,” and in particular we loved the nightly Top Ten list.

It inspired me to come up with my own list, in particular, of the things I could be doing instead of working in production. It’s more than 10 things, but hey, it’s my list.

Let the countdown begin…

18) Leave my house without having to check if I’m carrying a Sharpie and a flashlight.

17) Attend important family gatherings like birthdays and anniversaries instead of being out on the road with what’s his name in whatever town this is.

16) Reminisce about the outside world with my cellmate instead of chatting with the crew backstage.

15) Walk into a bar for a drink with my friends instead of walking into a fly bar onstage that was in the lowered position. (Can you say stitches?)

14) Eat a meal at a leisurely pace in a restaurant ensconced in a comfy booth instead of scarfing down bad catering while sitting on a road trunk backstage because doors are in 10 minutes and the catering company was late.

13) Turn the volume of my TV up a little so I can hear the questions on “Jeopardy” over the noise of the neighbor’s barking dog instead of asking the guitar player for the 14th time to turn down his amp that “goes to 11” because we’re in a 200-capacity club.

12) Vacuum the living room carpet at home rather than try to pick year-old spike marks off the drum rug because the promoter says they look bad on the IMAG screen and all the other crew members are busy.

11) Talk with friends over dinner about current events instead of telling the “newbies” backstage how we used to do it in the old days.

10) Impress my date with the fact that I have cash in my wallet and available credit on my cards instead of new gear in the shop.

9) Four simple words: “Eight hours of sleep.”

8) Shop for clothes that aren’t black.

7) Find the perfect woman and spend time with her instead of dating Sally from wardrobe because she works the same hours as me and at least showers a few times a week.

6) Show the bouncer my ID instead of showing the backstage security guard my “All Access” laminate.

5) Check out tomorrow’s weather forecast on a few websites and cable channels instead of trying to coordinate 20 wireless microphone and in-ear monitor systems from five different manufacturers.

4) Watch the performance and enjoy the show instead of straining to see what gear the band is touring with.

3) Buy a vehicle based on its gas mileage and how many people it carries rather than how much gear it can carry.

2) Be the drunk guy at the concert screaming “Free Bird” instead of having a drunk guy 10 feet away screaming it when I’m trying to mix.

And the number 1 thing I could be doing if I wasn’t in production: “Do you want fries with that?”

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